We love Kiva!
Praised by Oprah and endorsed by President Clinton in his book “Giving”, Kiva aims to encourage micro-financing by matching ordinary people, willing to provide small loans, with entrepreneurs in developing countries who will use the money to build a business and climb out of poverty. The loans, which can be as small as $25, are usually paid back over 12 months allowing the investor to reinvest their money in someone else’s venture. 96% of borrowers fully repay what they owe, a statistic that represents how seriously these loans are taken.
At The Yinova Center we like to support women who are starting small businesses. We have enormous fun choosing who to lend to. We like logging on to the Kiva website and reading people’s stories. It’s inspiring to hear how people plan to expand their businesses in order to support their families. Why not try it? It’s like internet shopping but with more heart. For as little as $25 you could support a woman in Nepal who is trying to expand her sandal shop or a woman in the Philippines who is making and selling crispy snacks. Seamstresses, farmers, bread makers and shop keepers around the world from Africa to Azerbaijan – the choice is yours. As women who run a business it makes us proud to lend money to entrepreneurial women and play a small role in helping them to help themselves and their families. You don’t earn interest on a Kiva loan but you do get the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference.
So far Kiva has attracted nearly 250,000 lenders and disbursed $22 million across 40 countries. You can withdraw your money when your loan has been repaid but almost everyone keeps on lending. That way Kiva keeps on growing and the charity expects to have distributed $100 million worth of loans by 2010.
If you decide to be a Kiva member we’d love you to join our Yinova Kiva Team. We focus on providing small loans to women. So start lending and spread some love. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find it a bit addictive.